Johnson man ordered to forfeit vehicle, weapon after deer jacking conviction

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JOHNSON — A Vermont man convicted of illegal nighttime deer hunting, known as “deer jacking,” has been ordered to forfeit his vehicle and weapon, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department announced. This comes on top of previous fines and a suspension of his hunting privileges.

Shane Phillips, 43, of Johnson, was originally cited for the offense after game wardens conducted an after-dark field operation in Johnson in October 2020.

During their surveillance, they observed an occupant of a black 2011 Buick Regal use artificial lighting to target two lifelike deer models placed by the wardens to catch poachers. The individual then shot one of the models with a crossbow.

Although the suspect fled when wardens approached, further investigation led them to Phillips. His vehicle was seized, and a subsequent search revealed the crossbow, which had been fired.

Phillips was charged and sentenced in August 2023 for five offenses related to the 2020 deer jacking incident, including shooting from a vehicle and a public highway and possessing a cocked crossbow in a motor vehicle.

He has been fined $2,877 and lost his privileges to hunt, fish, and trap for three years. The Lamoille County Superior Court also ruled this week that Phillips must forfeit the Buick Regal and the Bear Saga crossbow used during the illegal hunt to the state.

Game Warden Lt. Carl Wedin commented on the case’s resolution, saying, “Prosecuting law violators takes time. Vermont hunters can be gratified to see this poacher forfeit his vehicle and weapon, in addition to his fine and loss of his hunting privileges for the next three years.”

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